Act strictly against hospitals involved in illegal organ transplant: Health Ministry directs States, UTs

NEW DELHI: The Union health ministry has asked all states and UTs to investigate any violations and take appropriate action, including suspension of registration, against hospitals performing illegal organ transplants, officials said on Sunday.

In a letter to all states and UTs, Dr Atul Goel, Director General of Health Services (DGHS), Government of India, urged all states and Union Territories to ensure regular collection and sharing of data of all transplant cases, including those of foreigners, with the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) on a monthly basis.

The ministry’s direction comes over two weeks after an organ trafficking racket, involving Bangladeshi nationals, being run in Haryana and Rajasthan was busted.

Referring to media reports mentioning commercial dealings in organs involving foreign citizens, Dr Goel stated, “It has also been noted from the registry of NOTTO that there has been a surge in the number of organ transplants of foreigners in the country, which calls for monitoring of such transplants by the state or UT government authority concerned.”

Goel, in the letter issued on April 10, directed that appropriate authority of the state appointed as per the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act (THOTA), 1994, should investigate the transplant cases of foreign nationals in their respective states.

He also asked the officials to take appropriate actions whenever a breach of any provision of the Act or any of the rules made thereunder are noted.

“Investigate any violation of the THOTA, 1994 and rules thereunder and take appropriate action including suspension of registration for performing Organ Transplant, of the hospitals involved in illegal activities,” the letter said.

“It should be ensured that a unique NOTTO-ID for both donor and recipient is generated by the hospital from NOTTO website (www.notto.mohfw.gov.in), in all cases of organ transplant, whether from a living donor or deceased donor,” the letter said.

Besides NOTTO-ID being mandatory for considering allocation of organ in case of deceased donor transplant, this ID in case of a living donor transplant, shall also be generated at the earliest, at least within 48 hours of the transplant surgery, the minsitry said, it added.

The letter called for devising a system of regular inspection of the registered transplant or retrieval hospitals by the state appropriate authority, so as to maintain on-site monitoring of their activities, quality of transplantation, post operative follow-up of donor and recipient and outcome of the transplantation.

“Time and again, letters have been written to states for sharing of data related to organ donation and transplantation with NOTTO. However, complete data is still not being received. It is again requested to ensure regular collection and sharing of data of all transplant cases, including those of foreigners, with NOTTO on monthly basis,” the ministry said.

The healthy ministry also asked all states and UTs to submit an action-taken report on the instructions within 15 days.

On April 4, a joint team of CM flying squad, Gurugram health department and police busted a gang that got kidney transplant done for money in two private hospitals in Jaipur, according to officials.

The racket was busted following a raid at a hotel in Gurugram where a Bangladeshi national was found who had undergone a kidney removal procedure at a hospital in Jaipur under “suspicious” financial arrangements, they had said. (Agencies)

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